The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health--and How We Must Adapt

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Crown, Sep 15, 2020 - Business & Economics - 416 pages
A landmark insider’s tour of how social media affects our decision-making and shapes our world in ways both useful and dangerous, with critical insights into the social media trends of the 2020 election and beyond 

“The book might be described as prophetic. . . . At least two of Aral’s three predictions have come to fruition.”—New York

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY WIRED • LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD

Social media connected the world—and gave rise to fake news and increasing polarization. It is paramount, MIT professor Sinan Aral says, that we recognize the outsize effect social media has on us—on our politics, our economy, and even our personal health—in order to steer today’s social technology toward its great promise while avoiding the ways it can pull us apart.

Drawing on decades of his own research and business experience, Aral goes under the hood of the most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse. He shows how the tech behind social media offers the same set of behavior influencing levers to everyone who hopes to change the way we think and act—from Russian hackers to brand marketers—which is why its consequences affect everything from elections to business, dating to health. Along the way, he covers a wide array of topics, including how network effects fuel Twitter’s and Facebook’s massive growth, the neuroscience of how social media affects our brains, the real consequences of fake news, the power of social ratings, and the impact of social media on our kids.

In mapping out strategies for being more thoughtful consumers of social media, The Hype Machine offers the definitive guide to understanding and harnessing for good the technology that has redefined our world overnight.
 

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Contents

The New Social Age
3
The End of Reality
24
The Hype Machine
56
Your Brain on Social Media
94
A Networks Gravity Is Proportional to Its Mass
112
Personalized Mass Persuasion
131
Hypersocialization
156
Strategies for a Hypersocialized World
169
The Wisdom and Madness of Crowds
225
Social Medias Promise Is Also Its Peril
259
Rescuing the New Social Age
287
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
323
NOTES
327
ILLUSTRATION SOURCES
367
INDEX
369
Copyright

The Attention Economy and the Tyranny of Trends
200

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About the author (2020)

Sinan Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT, and Data Science at MIT; director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; and head of MIT’s Social Analytics Lab. He is an active entrepreneur and venture capitalist who served as chief scientist at several startups; co-founded Manifest Capital, a VC fund that grows startups into the Hype Machine; and worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WeChat, and The New York Times, among other companies. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Norway, and C6 Bank, Brazil’s first all-digital bank.

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